Aside from the worst heat wave of the summer being long over, the other big thing I had going for me was acclimatization. By now, I'd spent about two months in sweltering heat and my body had either adjusted accordingly or given up on externally expressing its internal distress entirely. Whichever was the case, all I knew was that I was looking forward to getting back on the road. Also, given so much time had passed since leaving Philly, I had all but forgotten about the heat stroke conditions on the way down. I don't know if that memory was purged intentionally as a form of self-protecting denial or if I'd just sweat it out naturally.
The original plan for the summer was to ride Philly to Asheville to Jackson on the way down, and then Jackson to Columbia, SC to Philly on the way back. Having been stymied by the heat on the way down, I was only able to see Philly to Asheville on the way down, and even that was mostly at night. This was not a bad thing, since because of that, the whole way back home was going to be new to me, making the ride all the more exciting. Well, as exciting as riding in the South in the late summer as a Yank could be, I suppose. I was going to get a close up look at how the other side of the Mason-Dixon lived. I'd already been warned about being careful what I wished for.
I use a day off in Jackson to clean and prep, getting my bike and gear ready for the road. I also used that time to get in one or two or three more homemade Pimento Cheese sandwiches from Miss Anne. It would have been impossible to starve to death in Jackson. Sweating to death was a different story. Related but unimportant, my hydration battle seems to be never ending. If I don't think a lot of water, I feel dried out. If I drink a lot of water, I pee every half hour. My body needs to figure out a better way because I'm tired of the constant input/output.
Gear prepped, bike primped, and route planned, I settled in for one last night in a comfortable bed with freezing air conditioning and readily available running water just down the hall. The closer I get to a departure, the more I remember that I'm going to miss a lot of the things that I normally take for granted. Small price to pay for the excitement of being on the road.
|Shiny = Hot|